Renault Megane

Dynamique S Nav dCi

130

Renault Megane, front action
Renault Megane, front action 2
Renault Megane, full front static
Renault Megane, front static
Renault Megane, side static
Renault Megane, dashboard
Renault Megane, rear static
Renault Megane, rear action
Renault Megane, boot

EXPECT some colourful language when it's time to decide on the paint for your new car.

The chosen words will be sparked by discovering how canny the car makers have become at boosting the bottom line with expensive paint options and leaving you little choice but to pay up.

How come? Well, they cunningly offer but a single colour that won't cost you more. Everything else is extra - and up to an amazing £795 more if you choose a Ford Focus.

The Renault Megane I've just been driving looks good in its flame red finish and so it should, at £650 on top of the car's list price. Opt not to add any extra cost hue and your Megane comes (only) in white.

A VW Golf offers grey as its only free colour (others are up to £570), Honda's new Civic is red for nothing or £525 for everything else, while a Mazda3 has white as standard and up to £670 for the rest.

You have to think the car makers realise we will hardly notice the bumped up bill because most new cars these days are bought on a finance deal, and the monthly payment will rise hardly enough to notice.

So, and to return to the Renault on test, you've taken the colour cost hit and now we look at the rest of the car. Even in basic white this is a handsome machine, easily capable of holding its own in a family hatch beauty contest.

Inside, the sense of style continues in a cabin dominated by black, from roof lining to seats finished in synthetic leather and cloth in the Dynamique S Nav spec of this £22,890 car, which sits around mid-point of a range stretching from £17,790 to £27,990.

Helping keep that expensive red paintwork intact is a reversing camera and parking sensors front and rear - not until you jump into a car without parking aids do you realise the potential for visits to the bodyshop every time you park.

Dominating the dashboard is an 8.7-inch touchscreen that allows plenty of room to display the route on its sat nav programme but, in the way of its rivals, collects finger marks and makes some functions harder to access than a boring old switch.

I'd say the engine fitted to this car is the pick of the bunch, its 130 horsepower providing more punch than expected and producing the right sporty note (faked by choosing this option - deep in the touchscreen menu) to reward press on driving.

Even with some sporting intent the car stayed nicely economical, the 59mpg shown after 500 miles earning an 'excellent' rating on the end of term report.

Rather less so was a driving position that never felt absolutely right, not helped by a seat that could do with a firmer cushion. No complaints about the ride, even on the big 17-inch alloys that help mark this version out from lesser Meganes on their 16ins rims.

Nothing wrong either with room in the rear seat or space in the boot, both competitive in their sector and unlikely to raise complaints from the growing families this sort of car is aimed at.

FAST FACTS

Renault Megane Dynamique S Nav dCi 130

Price:£22,890

Mechanical: 128 bhp, 1,461cc, 4-cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-spd gearbox

Max Speed: 123 mph

0-62mph:10.0 secs

Combined MPG: 70.6

Insurance Group: 19

C02 emissions: 104g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 4yrs/100,000 miles

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